The long, strong quake hit at 7.38pm, at a depth of 50km north-west of Paraparaumu.
More than 60,500 people indicated they felt it on the Geonet website, with about 40 percent of them saying it felt moderate or stronger.
RNZ reports GNS Science duty seismologist Jen Andrews said when earthquakes occurred at that depth, they tended to be very widely felt.
"The energy gets sort of pushed up and around very very efficiently by an event at this depth."
Shallower earthquakes tend to be felt strongly quite close to the quake's epicentre but that diminished further away from the quake, she said.
A few aftershocks were recorded after the quake with the largest one a magnitude 3, she said.
The shaking was light to moderate and there have been no reports of damage, she said.
It was not an unusual event and there were quite a lot of quakes in the Kāpiti region and Wednesday's quake was no reason to be alarmed, she said.